Orient Overseas International Ltd (OOIL), parent of Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL), said today it had ordered ten 16,000 teu ships.

The Cosco unit said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing the newbuilding order, for $1.58bn in total, would be equally split between affiliated shipbuilders Dalian Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (DACKS) and Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (NACKS).

Both are joint-ventures between the Cosco group and Japanese shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The newbuildings are expected to be delivered between  Q4 24 and Q4 25 and OOIL aid 60% of the cost would be financed by bank loans.

The order follows one from Cosco Shipping Lines at Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry (Yangzhou) in July, when the unit price of $158m indicated a hike in newbuilding prices.

OOIL said the new orders were in line with the group’s 14th five-year plan, which would, among other things, increase its fleet capacity and consolidate its market position.

The two shipyards involved are also building a dozen 23,000 teu ships OOIL ordered in 2020 for delivery in 2022-2023.

OOIL said: “The group would also benefit from the optimisation of its fleet structure and the reduction of its reliance on the vessel charter market. The vessels will be equipped with energy-saving and emission-reduction technologies, which will generate cost advantages as well as help in environmental protection.”

Liner operators and tonnage providers have been rushing to build new ships amid an unprecedented spike in freight rates caused by Covid-19-related supply chain disruptions, pushing the orderbook-to-fleet ratio to over 22%.

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